No Doubt

writing off disbelief

Creatively speaking, it’s been a good year so far. Daily writing with London Writers Salon, a global writing community. Master’s Writing Workshop, University of Arizona. Joined Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Made art, some good, some bad, for the 100 Day Creative Challenge. Wrote a few poems.  Launched the micro mashup, a weekly microburst of literary art. Interviewed authors. Published a few stories. Tweeted a novella.

But when I applied to a 5-Day Writing Residency and wasn’t accepted, the familiar chords of self-doubt clanged around my brain: I suck as a writer. Who am I kidding? I’m a charlatan, a poseur. My writing career is over.

And then it wasn’t.

After a while, the chorus changes. It always does, if you listen long enough. Now the refrain that plays is “writing equals butt in chair,” so I walk to the kitchen writing nook and sit in the red chair at my little desk. Gradually, the muse appears, a faded polaroid of my mom in her art studio. The black dog settles on his rug. The lighthouse in the painting above guides me toward pen and page. Just when I believe I have nothing left to say, it turns out I do, in fact, have words that need to be heard, so I sing them. This is how it happens with writing.

And in those murky moments when I’m panicked over deadlines and paralyzed with inadequacy and questioning my ability to juggle writing with everything else in my life—multiple households, travel, petsitting, finances, caregiving, death—and all of this feels as if I’m channeling my mother’s own self-doubt and disbelief in herself as an artist, a writer, a mother, all I can say is it’s just part of the process. Of being human: daughter, mother, wife. Of being a writer: artist, wordsmith, creator.